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Are you putting yourself at a greater risk for a fall? Find out by attending a special presentation April 29 at the West Linn Adult Community Center.

COURTESY PHOTO - Victoria Bryson will share information on preventing falls April 29 at the West Linn Adult Community Center. Sign up for the free presentation now.

We at the West Linn Adult Community Center know that falls can happen more easily than we would like to admit. According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year millions of older people — those 65 and older — fall. In fact, more than one out of four older people fall each year, but less than half tell their doctor. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.

That is why we have invited Victoria Bryson, PT, DPT, CSCS, and clinical director at Therapeutic Associates West Linn Physical Therapy, to share information on preventing falls from 1 to 2 p.m. Monday, April 29 at the center.

"The purpose of this talk is to present information but also give the opportunity in an open forum to ask an expert any questions related to exercise, balance and falling that they would like, and I'm so happy for the opportunity to educate and prevent falls through this talk," Bryson said.

Some of the topics she will cover include why falls are a problem; what contributes to falls; how does the balance system work; what types of exercise help prevent falls, increasing balance, strength and endurance; and other tips and tricks to apply at home.

Physical activity can go a long way toward fall prevention. With your doctor's approval, consider taking up activities such as walking, tai chi or gentle yoga, for more strength and balance. All such activities reduce the risk of falls by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. And remember all of these activities are available right here at the West Linn Adult Community Center.

Another way to prevent falls is to change your shoes. Yes, floppy slippers, sassy sandals and high heels are fun and fine for certain occasions, but supportive shoes should be a part of your fall prevention plan. There are many shoes with textured insoles (which improve balance), extended tongues (which keep loose-fitting shoes snugly against the heel of the foot) and convenient Velcro closures, all of which give your feet more support.

There are many hazards that can cause falls in the house. Every room in the house has risk factors, but by educating ourselves we can remove many of the obstacles.

Medication can also contribute to falls. Talk to your doctor and make sure you know all the risks of your medications. Even spring allergy medications can make one a little light-headed and contribute to the risk of a fall.

Come to the free presentation April 29 and learn more about preventing falls.

To sign up call the center at 503-557-4704 or drop by the center at 1180 Rosemont Road in West Linn. We are there from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The lunch menu this week features taco casserole with peppers and onions, chips and salsa and banana pudding on Friday, April 19; chicken Alfredo on penne and zucchini with strawberry cream pie on Monday, April 22 and chicken orzo soup, chicken salad sandwiches and carrot cake on Wednesday, April 24. Cost is $5 per person. Reserve a seat by calling the center.

Mieke Wiegman is a volunteer at the West Linn Adult Community Center.

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